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Rice on vital visit
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08:20, February 26, 2008

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Beijing today amid the heated presidential campaign in her country and some disturbing developments in the Taiwan Straits.

Rice has a very busy schedule in Beijing, holding talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi today. She flies to Japan tomorrow morning on the final stop of her Asia tour.

This could be Rice's last visit to Beijing, and offers a chance for high-level policymakers on both sides to address issues of mutual concern, ranging from Taiwan to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and from Kosovo declaring independence to Sudan.

"The annual National People's Congress session will begin soon, while US politics is getting more and more focused on the presidential election. So this could be an important chance for high-level talks," said Yuan Peng, a senior American studies researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Yuan said the Taiwan question is likely to be a key topic during Rice's talks with Chinese leaders because neither side wants to see a conflict across the Straits. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is another issue important to the two sides.

Source: China Daily

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